EU Commission to boost struggling wind power sector

On Tuesday, the European Commission presented new measures to boost the European wind power industry to achieve the European Union’s targets for renewable energy generation by 2030.

The European Union aims to reach its climate goal of generating 42,5% of the EU’s total energy consumption from renewable sources by 2030. Wind energy, which accounted for 16% of all power production last year, must play an important role. 

Significant operating losses

Saving time on issuing permits is essential as capacities in the EU to generate electricity from wind need to be more than doubled by 2030 – from 204 gigawatts (GW) in 2022 to 500 GW.

At the same time, major European wind turbine manufacturers recorded significant operating losses last year. Long approval procedures, rising raw material costs, cheaper turbines from abroad, and high inflation hamper the expansion of wind power capacity in the EU.

New online tool

To speed up the approval process, the Commission will launch a new online tool – including answers to frequently asked questions – to support Member States in accelerating and digitalizing permit procedures for new wind farms. Permit procedures are to be made faster and more digital, as authorizations sometimes last seven years for onshore and ten years for offshore installations.

In addition, it also wants to help Member States improve long-term planning for the rollout and design auction procedures that consider not only price but also criteria such as sustainability, environmental protection, and cyber security.

Investments and state aid

The Commission also plans to improve the accessibility of EU funding to boost investments in the sector and encourages member states to support the industry with state aid where possible. In 2022, greenhouse gas emissions were down 32,5% compared to 1990, although lots of work remains to be done, particularly in the building and transport sectors and agriculture.

Providing households and industries with affordable, reliable, and clean energy remains challenging. To favor the expansion of renewable energy capacities, the Commission called on member states to phase out fossil fuel subsidies as soon as possible. “Most fossil fuel subsidies are anachronistic and unhelpful to our clean energy transition,” EU Climate Commissioner Wopke Hoekstra said.

The Commission said that between 2021 and 2027, an estimated €578 billion of the EU budget will be spent on climate spending. However, investments from the EU budget need to be complemented by national and private investments to reach climate neutrality, the Commission said previously.

In Belgium, Minister of Energy Tinne Van der Straeten (Green) promises that “our country wants to actively implement the measures during the Belgian presidency in the first half of next year”.


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